So, earlier today, I'm on my bicycle, on this wonderful trail in a 3900 acre conservation area of woods. I meet up with a friendly looking woman, who had a sweet dog with her.
We chat a few minutes, and I end the conversation with "we're so fortunate to have such a beautiful day to be out here !".
She looks at me pointedly and said " BLESSED ".
Several choice responses immediately came to mind like : "that implies there's someone to DO the blessing ..." , etc.
But feeling peaceful at that moment, I let it slide, smiled, and pedaled away to continue my heathen bliss !
I subscribe to the point of view that one can feel 'blessed' without having received a literal blessing from anyone or anything, however, the way you describe the reaction of the woman with the sweet dog would seem to indicate an underlying assumption in the use of the word.
It’s just a word...and like a lot of words and expressions is used by some semi-automatically and without real thought or intent behind it...much in the same way as people say ‘have a good day”. I think before we watched The Handmaid’s Tale we’d have given ‘blessed” a lot less significance!
I have, for a few years, been wondering what the true meaning of ' bless ' IS. My latest conclusion :-
" A blessing is a wishful thinking of magnanimity that requires no effort or follow up on the part of the donor except its utterance"
Maybe it is really part of common courtesy and ' well-wishing ' ,but as in many other cases religionists think they have special dispensation to wish well in this way.
There is a lot of usage for bless or blessed by so called "religious " people. This is in large part, a lot of the teachings that a person should appreciate or be thankful in all things and not take them for granted.
Because many heathens have been known for taking things for granted or they are not into appreciation for things, the general use of blessings is not in the general pessimistic thoughts or lexicon of heathen and those "religious" sorts of people tend to use the word more and use it for being appreciating or thankful, not just taking things for granted.
Bless can simply mean being appreciating or thankful.
express or feel gratitude to; thank.
"she silently blessed the premonition which had made her pack her best dress"
give thanks for
express gratitude for
be grateful for